Formatting A New Friendship

, , , , , | Working | October 21, 2017

(I work in a portrait studio and am going to upload a customer’s pictures from a memory card after finishing the session. I get an error message that says, “card cannot be used,” which I’ve never seen before, so I call our help desk. He asks a couple questions and runs few a couple of quick things that don’t work.)

Help Desk Tech: “Okay, let’s do it this way. Go ahead and format the memory card.”

Me: “What? Format the memory card?”

(I am terrified to do this because it will erase all the images I just finished taking of a large group.)

Help Desk Tech: “Yeah.”

Me: “No.”

Help Desk Tech: “No?”

Me: *firmly* “No.”

Help Desk Tech: “Why not?”

Me: “I’m trying to retrieve the images, not delete them!”

Help Desk Tech: “It’s fine. I can still get them after you format it.”

Me: “No.”

Help Desk Tech: “It will be okay.”

Me: “What’s your name?”

Help Desk Tech: “[Help Desk Tech].”

Me: “Well, [Help Desk Tech], if I am going to go against my better judgement and format this memory card I need you to promise me that I won’t delete these pictures.”

Help Desk Tech: “It should be fine.”

Me: “Should be isn’t good enough! I need you to promise me.”

Help Desk Tech: “I promise. Go ahead and format it. I’ll help you through this. We can do it together.”

(I can tell he’s teasing me, but I take a deep breath and format the memory card. He proceeds to remotely access my computer and retrieve the images from the card.)

Me: “You did it!”

Help Desk Tech: “I’m glad. I was totally lying when I promised before.”

Me: “[Help Desk Tech]!”

Help Desk Tech: “Just kidding.”

Me: “Thank you so much!” *to my customer who has been waiting for her pictures* “He did it! My new best friend [Help Desk Tech] did it!”

([Help Desk Tech] is my buddy now. I’m always glad when I call the help desk and it’s him. The customer loved her pictures and tipped me $30.)

That Is ‘Pretty’ Awesome

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 15, 2017

(I am a photographer running a studio in the inner city. We are well known for our children’s portraits, and we range from high-end portraits for modelling jobs to fun sibling photos and birth announcements. We do a bit of everything; as such, we are extremely busy, and it states on our website that we do not accept walk-ins. We are usually booked up six months in advance. One day, ten minutes before closing, a mum walks in with a young girl around six or seven behind her. I internally groan.)

Mother: “Hello. I know you’re closing soon, but I have a special favour to ask.”

(At this point the little girl peeks around her mother’s legs and I’m lost for words. Under her thick winter coat and hat, she is skeletally thin with huge dark circles under her eyes. From what I can tell, she has no hair, and a tube taped to her cheek that feeds into her nose. It is immediately clear this kid is very, very sick.)

Mother: *near tears* “My daughter saw one of your photos taped to the wall at the hospital. She REALLY loves unicorns and the photo had a girl photo-shopped onto a horse. I know you’re booked up, and it’s months before the next appointment, but…”

(At this point she actually starts crying. I realise that our next available appointment is probably way too far away for this particular kid. The little girl squeezes her mother’s hand. I am a very big dude, covered in tattoos and a beard, but I’m not ashamed to say I needed a minute before I spoke.)

Me: “Aww, that’s just for regular customers! I’ve been waiting all day to take a photo of someone as beautiful as you! What’s your name, sweetheart?”

(I lock the front door and spend the next three hours taking photos of this kid in every princess costume I have in my closet. She is the sweetest, most well-behaved kid I have ever worked with. Once we’re done she curls up on the couch in my office and falls asleep while I load up the photos for her mum to see and choose the ones she likes best, and ask her what kind of retouching she’d like done. She’s adamant that I leave her daughter as is — apparently the little girl has been worried for the past month that she is no longer “pretty.”)

Me: “All right, so we’ve settled on these. I can have them edited and all finished in two days. If you give me your email I can send you the link to the website and the password to download them when they’re ready.”

(The mother thanks me over and over and comes up front, carrying her sleeping daughter, and holds out her credit card.)

Me: “Nope. No way.”

Mother: “Please, I insist. You stayed open so late and your shoots are listed for [amount] online. Please at least charge me that.

Me: “Absolutely not. I am not taking money for this. No way in h***.”

(A few days later I send the link through and hear nothing. I see she’s downloaded the photos and I think nothing of it, hoping my sweet little friend loved her photos. Almost six months later I’m once again closing up when a very familiar face pops up at my window, grinning and waving frantically.)

Me: *throwing open the door* “Hey, you!”

Little Girl: “Hi! I’m better! Look, I’m better!”

(Sure enough, she’d put on some weight, was flushed and pink, and had a fine fuzz of hair over her head. Her mother was a few steps behind her, grinning. She once again tried to force an envelope full of money into my hand, and again I refused. She got frustrated and eventually in her exasperation said, “at least let us take you to dinner!” which I happily accepted. Seven years later that photo of a sick little girl astride a giant pink unicorn is in a frame in my lounge room. My now-step-daughter groans every time I point it out to the friends she brings home!)

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We’re Closing Down For You

, , , | Right | May 29, 2017

(I work in a retail portrait studio. Due to circumstances that actually have nothing to do with my company, our location is permanently closing. Until then, it’s business as usual. My associate, who by the way is the sweetest girl on the planet and receives more customer compliments than the rest of us combined, is working alone. The phone rings while she is busy.)

Associate: “Thank you for calling [Studio]. Can you please hold?”

(She places the line on hold for no more than one minute as she finishes helping a customer. When she returns, the caller has hung up. She then receives two calls in a row and has to let one go to voicemail.)

Customer: *on voicemail* “I understand why you’re closing if you treat all your customers the way you just treated me. I called a minute ago and a snippy little girl said ‘can you hold please?’ and hung up— er, put me on hold! That is not a way to treat customers. It is a way to turn them off! I wanted to give you my business but now I’m glad you’re closing. I hope you all lose your jobs!”

(We dodged a bullet, having to deal with that level of entitlement. But the joke is on her. We’re all being transferred to another location — and getting raises.)

Fourth Time Is The Charm

| Chicago, IL, USA | Right | February 2, 2017

(The studio I work at has an order turnaround time of about a week. Customers can pay to have their orders shipped to their home, or they can pick it up at our studio for free. Our hours are a little strange: we are closed on Tuesdays, we close for an hour midday for lunch, and we close two hours before the store that we are located inside. A woman rushes in to pick up her portraits.)

Customer: “You’re here!”

Me: *confused* “Yes, I’m here… Are you here for a pickup?”

Customer: “Yes! Finally! This is my fourth try!”

(I’ve had people complain about our hours before, so I brace myself to deal with her anger.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am—”

Customer: “Oh, no, no, no. It’s not your fault at all. I mean, could you guys have made it any more obvious for me?”

Me: “What?”

Customer: “Well, when I called on Friday to see if my order was in, the nice girl on the phone reminded me that you closed for the night at 7 pm. I forgot that really quickly because I showed up at 7:45 to a dark studio!”

(She’s laughing as she tells me the story and I start to laugh with her.)

Me: “Well, yeah, we do try to remind people that we close before the store.”

Customer: “Exactly! Then, I tried again on Monday and I came right after you guys left for lunch!”

Me: “Yeah, I know the lunch break is weird…”

Customer: “You need to eat! And look! It’s printed right here on my receipt!”

(She puts her receipt on the counter. It’s got her pickup slip attached to it with our hours printed on it. By now she is laughing hysterically at herself.)

Customer: “She even highlighted it for crying out loud!”

Me: “That is quite a saga!”

Customer: “It gets better! I came in on Tuesday!”

Me: *face-palm*

Customer: “In addition to that also being printed and highlighted on my receipt, there is literally a sign RIGHT THERE that says you’re closed on Tuesdays! You would think I’d have been here enough times by this point to know that.”

Me: “Wow…”

Customer: *still laughing as I give her her order* “I mean you guys tried to hard to make sure I came when you were open and it still took me four tries.”

Me: “I’m sorry you had to go through all that!”

Customer: “Trust me… you are not the idiot here.”

(I love it when people are self aware.)

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Scheduling Some Disappointment

, , , | | Right | December 30, 2016

(I am hired at a photo studio for the holiday season. It takes me a week to lose patience with walk-ins and people who can’t grasp basic computer and camera information. Of course, I still have a customer service voice and a happy smile, and do my best to make everyone’s visit short, sweet, and to the point. And then Christmas Eve happens:)

Customer: *on phone* “I was wondering if you had an appointment available for later today?”

Me: “Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to make same-day appointments today, due to our shortened hours. I can make you an appointment for Saturday, though. Would that work?”

Customer: “No, no. I need pictures for Christmas cards.”

Me: *trying not to make fun of this woman’s procrastination skills* “Unfortunately, that won’t be possible today. You can come in and have pictures done at a later date.”

Customer: “You’re sure there’s nothing available?”

Me: “Like I said, we’re very busy and I’m not allowed to make same day appointments.”

Customer: *huffs and hangs up*

(Later that day I see a well-dressed woman and her two children come in and assume she’s our two o’clock.)

Me: “What can I do for you today?”

Customer: “I want to get our Christmas pictures done.”

Me: “Can I get your phone number?” *we use phone numbers to separate accounts in our system*

Customer: “[Number].”

Me: “Are you a new client with us?”

Customer: “Yes, I spoke to a girl over the phone and she said I could come on in.”

Me: *looks at the number, and checks the call list* “Ma’am, I’m the only one who’s been answering phones this last hour, and I distinctly remember telling you that we were not taking same-day appointments.”

Customer: “But this is a walk-in.”

Me: “Which we definitely cannot take.”

Customer: “But the coupon expires tomorrow.”

Me: “Then you should have made an appointment in advance like all of the others who are stuck here on Christmas Eve. Now, would you like to make an appointment for a later date, or are you going to move over so I can check in someone who made an appointment two weeks ago?”

Customer: *starts going on about how terrible I am while her children try to shush her*

(I moved over to the other register and got the two o’clock checked in. Another customer convinced her to leave by yelling rudely at her.)

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